The embattled former Ward 5 Council Member, Harry Thomas Jr. received his sentencing on May 3rd for his January guilty plea of stealing more than $350,000 in government funds and filing false tax returns. He was sentenced to 38 months in prison, less than the prosecution had suggested, 46 months.
The 51-year old’s defense attorney’s had asked for 18 months and six months home detention with 1500 hours community service, noting that his “history of extraordinary community service” should be taken into account.
In December, the FBI raided Thomas’ home FBI in northeast Washington, where it seized a motorcycle and an SUV. Thomas allegedly used the city’s money to fuel a lavish lifestyle, including expensive trips.
U.S. District Judge John Bates, noted during the sentencing hearing that Thomas not only stole money from needy kids, but he stole much more than what was originally thought. Judge Bates noted that Thomas stole $446,000, not $350,000. However, the judge did note that Thomas had done a lot of kids in his community, a kind gesture he did not want to go unnoticed.
Thomas testified at his sentencing hearing and apologized for how he had “humiliated his wife and his children.” He had also previously written a letter to the judge apologizing for his actions.
His mother and a slew of supporters also wrote letters before his sentencing, to the judge presiding over his case asking for leniency. His mother wrote in her letter, that she has been the matriarch of her family- the widow of former Ward 5 Council Member Harry Thomas, Sr. and stated how her son grew up in Ward 5 and had given so much back to the community. She further noted how the scandal could begin to take a toll on Thomas’s kids, who are still school-aged.
Mayor Vincent Gray (D) issued a statement about Thomas’ sentencing saying, “While I remain deeply disappointed and troubled by what happened, it’s clear that justice has been done and Mr. Thomas will be held responsible for his actions.”
Thomas had been on the D.C. Council since 2006. He resigned in January after these charges were filed. His sentencing comes amid ongoing federal investigations into the use of funds in the political campaigns of Mayor Gray (D) and Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D). Lets see who’s next…?